Democracy in Latin America: Colombia and Venezuela

By Donald L. Herman | Go to book overview

"irregular raids, unfair arrests, illegal trials, excessive punishments, physical and moral torture, and disappearances." 23

The fourth measurement might be a political-socioeconomic dialectic. In expanding upon a remark of Venezuelan President Lusinchi, we identify three stages to help us measure Colombian and Venezuelan developmental patterns for the remainder of the twentieth century: dictatorship, political democracy and social democracy. Both countries have emerged from the darkness of military dictatorship into the light of political democracy. As Plato's allegory of the cave tells us, however, the light of truth can be painful. The light will become brighter and more painful for the leadership as they move from elite accommodations of political democracy toward efforts to realize socioeconomic development of social democracy. The effort will be difficult but the goal most noble: to alleviate misery and raise the level of human worth and dignity for the majority of the people.


NOTES
1.
Richard B. Craig wrote two very informative articles on the Colombian drug trade. See "Colombian Narcotics and United States-Colombian Relations", Journal of InterAmerican Studies and World Affairs 23 ( August 1981):243-70; and "Domestic Implications of Illicit Colombian Drug Production and Trafficking", Journal of InterAmerican Studies and World Affairs 25 ( August 1983):325-50.
2.
U.S. Department of State, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Summary, February 1, 1985 -- hereafter referred to as "Strategy Report."
3.
Fox Butterfield, "Dispute Rises in Colombian Drug Extradition Plea", The New York Times, May 22, 1985.
4.
U.S. Senate, D.C. Asencio testimony before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Illegal Narcotics Profits ( Washington, D.C.: Government Printing office, December 12, 1979). Quoted by Craig, "Colombian Narcotics", p. 258.
5.
Craig, "Domestic Implications", pp. 328-29.
7.
Craig, "Colombian Narcotics", p. 332.
8.
Joseph B. Treaster, "Colombian Troops Are Said to Break Courthouse Siege", The New York Times, November 8, 1985; Joseph B. Treaster, "Colombians Debate Handling of Siege", The New York Times, November 10, 1985; "Colombian Guerrillas' Drug Connections Crystalize in Shoot-out", Wall Street Journal, November 15, 1985.
9.
Craig, "Domestic Implications", pp. 338-39.
10.
"Colombia -- Heads Roll in Trafficking Saga", Latin America Weekly Report, February 15, 1985.
11.
Alan Riding, "Drug Abuse Catches Up to Dismayed Colombia", The New York Times, August 20, 1986.
12.
See also U.S. Department of State, Jon R. Thomas, Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics Matters, Controlling International Narcotics Production and Trafficking ( Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Public Affairs, March 19, 1985).

-315-

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